Thursday, June 2, 2022
The Supreme Court is expected to hand down its decision soon in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which will likely result in five justices overturning Roe v. Wade. With Roe gone, the question of whether and how abortion should continue will return to the states. We should be able to tell from those debates who is and who isn’t truly upset about school shootings. If you don’t see other people as beings of immeasurable worth created in the image and likeness of God, then mass shootings shouldn’t upset you. In fact, they can’t upset you if you are being intellectually consistent.
Perhaps more people should look at themselves in the mirror and have that conversation with themselves. Then, if they conclude that they still must support abortion, they should be open about how they’re being intellectually consistent from now on and not respecting life at any stage. Such people would be ghouls but at least they would be honest ghouls.
This piece represents the extreme pro-life view. The idea is that human life begins at conception and any abortion after that is basically equivalent to murder. Many or most on the pro-life side view this as a scientific position. The argument goes 1. The fertilized egg is clearly alive; 2. It's not any sort of life except human life; 3. It's human life so killing it is homicide. I don't find this argument persuasive. I think it's a religious view that life begins at conception, and this is why I oppose basically all abortion, but until I'm acclaimed king, I will accept the imperfect judgment of the demos on this question. But at some point, it is a scientific question. A baby one day before he or she is born is still a baby, not a fetus or a tumor. If you kill it, you're killing a human being. So when does the transition from zygote to human being take place? Presumably on a continuum and sometime fairly early in the pregnancy. I can imagine a person of good will allowing abortions before this point and prohibiting them afterwards. This in fact seems to be the position of most Americans and Europeans on the question.
Different states will stake out different positions on abortion after the expected overruling of Roe v. Wade. Here in California, I expect our position to be utterly morally indefensible, allowing abortion any time up to and including the time of birth, and even, if you read the text of the relevant statutes literally, some weeks after birth. Presumably the courts will not just let mothers or fathers who kill their young children just walk, but this is one hell of a note.
That said, I'm not sure this sort of op-ed piece coming out of American Greatness much helps the cause of opposing abortion. I think it is true, as the piece suggests, that if abortion were more restricted than it has been, America would not be so far from reaching the replacement level of birth rates. The downside might be, however, that the population would be replaced by the least desired and perhaps some would say desirable children. There was a flurry of scholarship a few years back that purported to show that increases in abortion rates were correlated with decreases in crime rates. I'm very skeptical of this result, but I have never looked at these questions carefully. The suggestion that people who support abortion must also support school shootings, if they are consistent, is of course outrageous, as I suspect it is intended to be. Perhaps it will wake some people up to the inconsistencies in their own position, but I suspect it will make more people angry and that much less inclined to reconsider their own positions.